AMD Athlon 3000G: Aligning Names and Numbers at $49

The odd-one out from today’s announcement is a processor at the other end of the portfolio. To put it into context, if a user wants to jump on board the 7nm and Zen 2 bandwagon, the entry price point is $199 for the Ryzen 5 3600. Below that we have older hardware based on Zen 1, and AMD’s APU line of processors featuring integrated graphics. The new Athlon 3000G sits firmly in this category, and aims to be a very interesting processor indeed.

The Athlon 3000G is a 35W dual core Zen+ processor with 3 compute units of Vega graphics, built on 12nm and falls in the Picasso family of hardware. It doesn’t have any turbo, but does have a nominal frequency of 3.5 GHz on the CPU and 1100 MHz on the GPU. Supported memory speeds are DDR4-2933 and it can support up to 64 GB. It will come bundled with AMD’s 65W near-silent stock cooler, which is absolutely overkill for this product.

If a dual core Zen+ Picasso APU sounds familiar, it’s because AMD already has a processor that fits the bill: the AMD Athlon 300GE. Following previous convention, I would have expected AMD to call this new processor the 320GE, as it has +100 MHz more on the CPU. However, AMD are changing the naming for two reasons.

First, to align it more with the Ryzen family. With the Ryzen 3000 series starting with the Ryzen 3 3200G for the 65W Zen+ APUs, moving into the Ryzen 5 3600 for the 65 W desktop Zen 2 CPUs, each of these are four digits plus a letter. By moving to 3000G, it allows AMD to equate the two families together (even if there’s still an APU/desktop CPU microarchitecture mismatch).

AnandTech Cores
TDP Price
12nm Zen+ - Picasso
Ryzen 5 3400G 4 / 8 3700 4200 11 65 W $149
Ryzen 3 3200G 4 / 4 3600 4000 8 65 W $99
Athlon 3000G 2 / 4 3500 - 3 35 W $49
Athlon Pro 300GE 2 / 4 3400 - 3 35 W -
14nm Zen - Raven Ridge
Ryzen 5 2400G 4 / 8 3600 3900 11 65 W $169
Ryzen 5 2400GE 4 / 8 3200 3800 11 35 W -
Ryzen 3 2200G 4 / 4 3500 3700 8 65 W $99
Ryzen 3 2200GE 4 / 4 3200 3600 8 35 W -
Athlon 240GE 2 / 4 3500 - 3 35 W $75
Athlon 220GE 2 / 4 3400 - 3 35 W $65
Athlon 200GE 2 / 4 3200 - 3 35 W $55

The other aspect is that the Athlon 3000G is also unlocked. AMD touts the 3000G as the first AM4 Athlon that is fully unlocked for overclocking, allowing users to adjust the CPU multiplier as high as their dreams desire (or to the limits of the silicon). As AMD is pairing the CPU with its 65W cooler, that means a lot of users, as long as the motherboard supports overclocking, should be able to push their CPU a bit higher. AMD stated that the +400 MHz in the slide deck for our briefing would represent a ‘typical’ overclock for an end-user, but then clarified they did use a high-end cooler to achieve that value. Nonetheless, an unlocked $49 chip with a cooler than can handle double the TDP could be exciting for users wanting to test their overclocking skills.

The other feather in AMD’s cap for this new chip is that it competes against Intel’s Celeron and Pentium desktop processors. Given the high demand for Intel's high-end 14nm products, the Pentium and Celeron parts have been available in relatively low in volumes as they don’t make as much money, especially when high-end demand is high. In that instance, AMD has the advantage as the company stated that there will be plenty of Athlon silicon to go around.

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  • evernessince - Thursday, November 7, 2019 - link

    It's a HEDT processor, it's designed for professionals. If it speeds up your work then that for many is worth a lot of money.
  • Irata - Friday, November 8, 2019 - link

    That's why I said "considerable part of buyers". I am sure that for professionals it is more than worth it.

    For someone like me, however, it would definitely be a "want" CPU - as far as my needs / use cases go, a 3700x or even 3600 would be perfectly fine, however I want a 3950x because it is what it is.

    The cool thing is that I can get a lower end Ryzen 3000 now (with a good main board) and upgrade to the 3950x later when it is offered at EOL prices.
  • Spunjji - Friday, November 8, 2019 - link

    One thing I like about the 3950X is that it's blurring the lines of what HEDT is, in a good way. Availability of this many cores on a mainstream desktop platform is a great incentive for developers to look for ways to use that power.

    As Irata points out - your common-or-garden end user can purchase a 4, 6 or 8-core system and then eventually upgrade to 3950X at a (potentially much) later date when more software benefits. There's already been an uptick in software like games using meaningfully more cores since Zen first released; I'd anticipate that trend continuing, albeit acknowledging the difficulty of multi-core scaling for many tasks means the trend will likely slow down.
  • MASSAMKULABOX - Monday, November 11, 2019 - link

    yep anything above 6 cores is gonna sit around doing nothing most of the time , for ordinary users. And ven for other users multi-cores are very under utilized... they have run out of ideas to make us upgrade, datacentres need it and HPC need it but home users? no way .. E-peen ?b.rites
  • Manch - Thursday, November 7, 2019 - link

    TR is mainly for content creation and other things where more cores is beneficial. If games and browsers are your thing, just get a Zen 3 or Intel equiv. No point in spending on this.
  • haukionkannel - Friday, November 8, 2019 - link

    Yep... 3600 or 3700 Are for Gaming. Anything above more to content creation!
  • Targon - Thursday, November 7, 2019 - link

    A game like Kingdom Come: Deliverance shows that performance can drag with a lower number of CPU cores, but I don't know how well it scales up. I would expect that similar games with a lot of AI controlled NPCs would see a big benefit from additional CPU cores if the game is designed to use them.
  • SeannyB - Thursday, November 7, 2019 - link

    TR 1950X user here. In general use, it's great at multitasking. You can be doing a lot of things at once and the system doesn't choke because there are always more cores. And the rare case (certain kinds of content creation) where a single program can utilize all cores, it's ludicrously faster than the 6-core Ivy Bridge "Extreme" I had prior. TR + fast storage + 32GB RAM is a dream machine for PC desktop, IMO.

    As far as gaming goes, benchmarks tell the story. Game engines that can multi-thread draw calls running content that is mostly limited by draw calls see the most benefit, but even then it won't beat a fast Intel; TR will keep pace at best. Off-the-shelf game engines like Unity & Unreal run all of their game logic & world/physics simulation on one or two threads, so simulation games using those engines like Cities Skylines and Kerbal Space Program are ultimately CPU frequency-limited because the bottleneck lies in their gamesim/physics thread.
  • surt - Thursday, November 7, 2019 - link

    If you have reason to buy TR, you should really be buying no less than 64G to pair it with.
  • SeannyB - Thursday, November 7, 2019 - link

    In 2017, 64GB seemed like overkill for a 16-core system. Even now, I never top out even as I'm running Unreal Engine (editor), 3DS Max, Ableton Live even simultaneously... Of course, YMMV. 16-core soon enough will merely be a top-end Ryzen, and 24-core & up is a decidedly different class of computer, and I suppose 64GB is appropriate for that.

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